Movies where the actors actually sing/play the music.

I’m not really interested in traditional musicals, though I’m not averse to a discussion of them here. What I’m interested in is movies such as “The Commitments” which is about a band and the actors who play the members of the band are actually musicians and actually play and sing in the movie. I’m not really interested in movies that are a vehicle for an established band either, though again I am not averse to discussion here.

At the moment I can only think of “The Commitments”. Do you have others?

Also this would be a good place to post your favorite movie soundtracks, especially those which hang together well.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Sissy Spacek did all her own singing.

Movies like “The Song Remains the Same” and “Rattle and Hum” are out, I take it?

Never saw “Spice World” … is there an actual plot?

sjc, where do you stand on “A Hard Day’s Night”? How about Paul Simon’s “One Trick Pony”? Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” (really a documentary)?

Does George Strait sing in “Pure Country”? Never saw it, but I’d assume he does.

Also, wasn’t the band in Mark Wahlberg’s “Rock Star” actual musicians? Walberg himself can also be considered a musician (I guess) … did he sing his own parts in the movie?

In Gosford Park, Jeremy Northam really sings all those songs, and there’s no dubbing involved (i.e., his voice was recorded during the very take that you’re watching). He’s the one playing the piano when you can see his hands, but his brother Chris played the piano on the other songs and Jeremy just sang over it.

Aw, your second condition means I have to leave out The Beatles’ movies . . . although it should be pointed out that they turned out to be pretty decent actors given the limitations of the scripts.

The Buddy Holly Story – Gary Busey, Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith all played and sang for the movie. There may have been some overdubs from pros, but not a lot.

Coal Miner’s Daughter – Both Sissy Spacek and Beverly D’Angelo both did all their own singing as Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. And did a fabulous job, too.

In La Bamba, although they are not the main characters, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran were nicely portrayed by Marshall Crenshaw and Brian Setzer, who performed their own music for the movie and soundtrack.

Special Note: The actors in That Thing You Do! did not do their own performances, but aside from the bass player, they all did a damned fine job miming. I play guitar and a little drums, and never once did I see one of the actors playing something incorrect when their hands were visible.

“Moulin Rouge” is not exactly what you are looking for - it has more “off-stage” singing than the typical musical, not less, plus all the on-stage performances - but much of the singing is done by the on-screen actors. Some of it is not; the face of the Man in the Moon is an actor, but the singing is Placido Domingo, and Placido Domingo backs up some of the other male singing, for instance.

“Paint Your Wagon” is a more traditional musical, in structure if not in casting. Apparently Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood did all their own singing. Who else could (or would) sound like that?

Duets features virtually all the cast singing, including Paul Giamatti, Lochlyn Munro, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Christopher Walken sings in the weirdest karaoke bar on earth in Search and Destroy.
Ewan McGregor channels Iggy Pop in Velvet Goldmine.
Jason Lee sings as Jeff Bebe of Stillwater in Almost Famous.
Val Kilmer covered The Doors in The Doors.
Michelle Pfeiffer sings in The Fabulous Baker Boys, and I think Jeff and Beau Bridges actually play piano.
For that matter, Richard Gere also does his own piano work in Pretty Woman.

And lest I forget, Val Kilmer also did a mean turn as Nick Rivers in Top Secret.
Let’s see if Dooku gets me here: I believe Rob Lowe also played sax in St. Elmo’s Fire during the Halloween bar scene.

I see that Wahlberg’s voice was dubbed. But it looks like the members of the bands in the movie – Steel Dragon and Blood Pollution – were mostly real musicians. Jason Bonham’s name is most recognizable to me when perusing the cast.

It’s my understanding that Gary Busey, Charles Martin Smith, and Don Stroud played their own instruments and did their own singing in The Buddy Holly Story. A quick check of does not confirm this, so I may be promulgating a film legend.

I haven’t seen The Fabulous Baker Boys, so I don’t know if the Bridges did their own piano playing or their own singing, but, according to the IMDB:
they “performed” in one way or another on a couple of songs.

Ah! Here we are: *“Astonishingly, the three of them played all their pieces live in the movie and Busey is electrifying in looking and sounding just like Holly in a role that brought him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor and the film won the Oscar for Best Adaptation Score by Joe Renzetti.” *

Kate Winslet does a lot of her own singing in her films… Sense and Sensibility and Iris feature some pretty stunning vocal performances by her, as I recall, and even Branagh’s Hamlet has a bit of her singing.

Also, though I wasn’t that into the film as a whole, I was quite impressed by Ewan McGregor’s singing talent for Moulin Rouge.

And though I know it’s not a movie, both Robert Picardo and Jeri Ryan sang their vocal performances in a number of episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager”.

**Spinal Tap! **

Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnell), Harry Shearer(Derek Smalls) and Michael McKean (David St. Johns) wrote and performed the songs used in the classic rock- mock? - umentary.

Several years later they released a follow up album and actually toured in support of it.

By “vehicle” I’m not sure if you’re discounting Elvis Presley and the dozens of movies he starred in.

Many of the voice actors in Disney animated films sing their own songs, or are they out as well?

Okay, how about John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, the SNL band, and a host of venerable blues era singers in The Blues Brothers?

I understand that Jerry Lee Lewis redid much of his music used in Great Balls of Fire but Dennis Quaid can play the piano quite well and is a musician in his own right; he has a band called Dennis Quaid and the Sharks.

Jim Carrey sang Andy Kaufman’s “songs” (I don’t know that I could really call them songs) for “Man in the Moon”.

What about Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, and Julie Andrews? There are loads more actor-musician-singers from the dawn of Hollywood film that would probably fit the bill.

Dudley Moore did his own piano playing in 10.

I knew I’d think of some others:

Georgia, in which both Mare Winningham and Jennifer Jason Leigh performed all their own numbers, recorded live, no less. They were backed up by groups of real musicians including John Doe of X, and Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies.

The Rutles, in which Neil Innes and Eric Idle, at least, actually played and sang.

Light of Day, in which Joan Jett of course did her own singing, and Michael J. Fox did some of his own singing and guitar work. Michael McKean also appears in the movie doing his own vocal work.

I know Gary Busey did, and pld beat you to it.

Meryl Streep performed the rave up at the end of “Postcards From the Edge.” Quite good actually.

As you say, all three are genuine musicians. Michael McKean, I’ve read, was briefly a member of the Left Banke (“Walk Away, Renee”) in the late 60s or early 70s, long after they’d had their one huge hit, but not long before they finally broke up.

Now, it certainly wouldn’t be accurate t osay that Spinal Tap was based on the Left Banke (who were American, after all, and didn’t play heavy metal), but the experience must have stuck with McKean. More than a decade before making “Spinal Tap,” McKean experienced first-hand what it’s like to play and tour with a band that was once huge, but is no longer popular, that’s been reduced to playing bad gigs in front of tiny, indifferent crowds.

By the time McKean was touring with the Left Banke, it must have been obvious to everone EXCEPT the band’s founders that their 15 minutes of fame was over, and that the fans weren’t coming back.